A South Dakota education trend is revealing an increase in enrollment in technical schools, while those taking university courses is declining at most public universities.

A report submitted to the state Board of Technical Education shows enrollment at the state’s four technical institutes is up since last year, from 6,652 to 6,825, a 2.6 percent increase. The largest number of students are enrolled in the health science career cluster, which has grown from 1,301 students to 1,380 students.

Other numbers recently revealed showed the only state university that saw an increase in enrollment was Dakota State, while the other five reflected a loss of students. Mount Marty College in Yankton had a sixteen percent increase, mainly attributed to more foreign students enrolling with a focus on their sports programs. University of Sioux Falls enrollment was also up.

“As a system, it’s our goal to grow overall enrollment while aligning our academic programs with industry needs,” said Nick Wendell, executive director of the South Dakota Board of Technical Education. “More and more South Dakota students and their families understand that a technical institute education can lead to an outstanding career, right here at home.”

Participation in the state’s reduced tuition dual credit program also grew, from 737 students to 875 students. This program is an opportunity for high school students who meet admissions standards to enroll in public postsecondary institutions in South Dakota and simultaneously earn credits for both their high school diploma and a postsecondary degree or certificate, at a reduced cost of $48.33 per credit.

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